Joined on 04/09/02
excellent for price
Pros: Same WEI as my Core2Quad 2.5Ghz but at only 2.1Ghz and a lot less power. There's a certain geeky amusement to seeing an odd number of processors in the system performance monitor.
Cons: Not really; some people ding the graphics power but it's right where I expected it to be.
Overall Review: The stock heatsink does not inspire confidence; the contact portion is noticably smaller than the top of the chip. Seems to be working OK though since I'm using not just the stock speed but also the system BIOS's "low power" setting.
Pros: Very high quality - parts like capacitors are not the cheap ones. Lots of ports - the motherboard has headers for a tremendous amount of USB 2. GUI BIOS if you like that kind of thing. If your case has a window you can see the nicely sculpted chipset heat sinks.
Cons: None really. Maybe that there's only 2 USB 2.0 out of the box; it doesn't include a bracket with more although there are plenty of headers. Not sure what I'm supposed to do with two ancient PCI slots. I'd rather have extra PCI-e 1x or 4x slots.
Overall Review: The BIOS setup interface is very pretty - not sure if I really care about a GUI in a place I just need to check some settings and then hardly ever see again. I'd probably rather have a USB 2 bracket for the money spent on developing the GUI. All the parts just worked on first being put together, including memory. If you have DDR3 1866 memory and the system acts flaky, it's probably a bad memory module; don't wildly change BIOS settings you don't understand in a panic and get mad at this fine board like another reviewer did. The thing about only 2 USB ports is that even though in theory USB 3 is backwards compatible with USB 2 the generic driver in the Windows 7 install disk cannot cope so it's a little extra hassle if you have three things USB (keyboard, mouse and DVD drive) to do your install. A lot of chipset heatsinks have fans - Nice that this one does not because of the noise but I hope it doesn't get too hot.
Pros: Definitely quiet. Comes with power adapter for 4 pin power supply type.
Overall Review: Name does not lie; they're pretty quiet. Built in is the four prong type power plug that goes on a motherboard but I was surprised to see included in the package was an adapter for the kind a PATA hard drive uses. When I first plugged it in the motherboard BIOS was defaulted to super speed for fans so the thing really started ripping along. Then I got the power settings to a more friendly setting and it's nice and quiet. Check your motherboard's fan rpm setting right away after installation!
Looks good outside
Pros: Very short compared to other HTPC cases. Really does look like a stereo component instead of a computer. USB 3 on the front. Little touches like hard drive rubber pads and fan filters included.
Cons: One of the disk drive holders is a poorly designed plastic thing. I must knock one egg because of this goofy plastic disk holder, see "other thoughts".
Overall Review: The thing is really short so that means it's going to be cramped inside. Wow is it ever! I highly recommend you go sparse on the number of disk drives you intend to install even though technically the specs say you can cram them in. If you are new to building computers the tight space will be frustrating; find a friend who has experience to help. There are supposed to be places to put five 2.5 inch drives. Two are clever, one was poorly designed and two are so clever I haven't found them yet but fortunately I don't need them anyway. For the poorly designed one, they tried to make it universal 2.5 or 3.5 inch and while that sounds like a great idea it just ended up poorly executed. It's a funky shaped plastic shelf that overhangs the motherboard. That might be OK but since it's plastic it needs arching supports that I had to cut away because otherwise the motherboard power socket was blocked. A proper metal 3.5 holder that needs an adapter for a 2.5 would be a better choice.
Pros: Typical Corsair high quality
Cons: Really really tall. Really.
Overall Review: I always get either Crucial or Corsair memory but I've never got Corsair's "Vengeance" series so I wasn't expecting how tall the things are. You can't really tell from the pictures that they are twice the height of regular memory modules! Keep that in mind looking at how close your motherboard has its memory slots to the CPU and what kind of CPU cooler you get.
Pros: Just plug in and they work! I connected a router in the basement to a switch on the second floor. All computers up and down can see each other over the network immediately with no setup. Didn't even have to press the 'sync' button. I get ~52% network usage on computers with 100Mb NICs on either side of the devices according to Windows 7 network monitor which is fast enough for me.
Cons: I wasn't able to get the monitoring software to work but the speed seems pretty good so I'm not concerned about it.
Overall Review: Speed through these devices are highly dependent on your house's wiring and especially if you have appliances on the same circuit. A lot of reviewers have dinged off eggs because of bad wiring or whatever that's not the devices' fault. It's like complaining wi-fi doesn't work well through thick walls if you ask me. I probably could have gotten the 200Mb version but the 500's were on shell shocker. I haven't been able to get their exact speed (see cons) maybe because both are plugged into switches instead of straight into computers.